Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

'Homeless' Planets May Be Common In Our Galaxy 181

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the click-your-heals-together dept.
sciencehabit writes "Our galaxy could be teeming with 'homeless' planets, wandering the cosmos far from the solar systems of their birth, astronomers have found. In a paper published online today in Nature, the researchers list 10 objects in our galaxy that are very likely to be free-floating planets. What's more, they claim that in our galaxy, free-floaters are probably so populous that they outnumber stars."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

'Homeless' Planets May Be Common In Our Galaxy

Comments Filter:
  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:04AM (#36177914)
    I wonder if any are space ships.
    • by definate (876684) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:35AM (#36178192)

      Well, while I wouldn't think they'd be "space ships" in the classical sense.

      I do wonder, would this not be a viable method of extremely long term, interstellar travel?

      Find a "free-floater [urbandictionary.com]" (terrible name), build a perhaps subterranean civilization, somewhat colonize this planet, impart an impulse, and go for a ride for millions of years. Given we're advanced enough to even make it to one, we might even be able to attach "weak" but sustainable engines to it, such that we can slightly control it. It wouldn't be a terraformed planet, or similar, more like a moon, which we can live on, sustainably, regardless of the vacuum of space, and lack of sun. This would then essentially be a giant, "space ship".

      Interesting idea.

      • by Whalou (721698)
        You make it sound so simple!
        • by onepoint (301486)

          It sounds so simple because the idea has a lot going for it. the lack of an energy resource is the only thing, but I am thinking that a deep enough mine, might produce geo-therm heat.

          Where I perceive the problem to be is the evolution of the people on the planet, we can barely keep ourselves from getting killed every 40ish years, I would love to know what would happen on this journey of 10000+ years.

          As for a way to guild the direction, well these things are Jupiter size, so I would guess we would jump on on

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        The issue would be one of power. Law of conservation of energy and all that. Any people living on such a rock need energy to move around talk, and go about their daily lives. That energy has to come from somewhere. In our own cases, that's easy: 99% of the energy we use traces back to the sun in some way or another (geothermal is about the only naturally harnessable source that isn't solar - nucelar fission is available to societies that can harness it).

        So in the end, such a rock would be useleess as a

        • In our own cases, that's easy: 99% of the energy we use traces back to the sun in some way or another (geothermal is about the only naturally harnessable source that isn't solar - nuclear fission is available to societies that can harness it).

          In the end, all this energy comes from nuclear reactions, either fusion in the sun of fission in the interior of the earth or nuclear reactors.

          Assuming an advanced enough technology, it's possible to extract nuclear energy from any atom except iron. It's reasonable to assume that a civilization advanced enough to reach an extra-solar planet would have no problem in extracting energy from it.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          Well if they can manage De-De fusion then it may not be much of a problem. Or even better if they manage to develop direct conversion or zero-point energy sources then leaving their sun might become a really good idea if not necessary.
          Yes Zero-point and direct conversion are well in the realm of science fiction but then so is moving a planet or even getting to a free floating world.
          If you where exploiting enough energy you could have a problem with dumping the waste heat. Moving to a free floating planet wo

        • by CatsupBoy (825578)
          The core of this planet has been hot for billions of years, perhaps it could be coaxed it into staying hot for billions more. A couple of well placed moons might gravitationally provide some heat in the core.

          Also the planet could be stocked with water to provide thermodynamic energy, O2, and water for us and plants. Not sure how effective a big layer of ice is against gamma radiation, but it couldnt hurt.

          And who says we have to have a large population, just big enough to withstand any disasters that
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Read Fritz Lieber's "The Wanderer".
        It discusses exactly this.

        • Or Niven's Fleet of Worlds, or watch Space 1999.

          Or read "A Pail of Air" which is about survivors of a freak accident that causes the earth to become one of these (I suspect that the physics of this story are off by orders of magnitude, but it's still a fun read for some reason).

      • by SQLGuru (980662)

        more like a moon

        That's no moon!

      • by Aidtopia (667351)

        This idea is similar to applying a force to the sun and dragging the entire solar system [sfwa.org]. The author of that piece incorporated the idea into his novel C.U.S.P.

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "I do wonder, would this not be a viable method of extremely long term, interstellar travel?"

        It's the damned Pierson's Puppeteers fleeing from the exploding core.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      No. It's lonely out in space.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      That is no moon!
      Wow talk about just not a good idea. I do not think I want to find a civilization that can build planet sized space craft. Hey at least they are slow. Maybe they are Outsiders?

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:06AM (#36177930) Homepage

    OK, so I've never really understood 'dark matter', but if there's a bunch of stuff floating about that's not stars and only shows up through things like gravitational micro-lensing ... might this cover some of the mass that is dark matter?

    Or is this just way to insignificant to account for it?

    A bunch of planets floating around in space without orbiting a star is probably a lot -- but maybe nowhere near enough to account for whatever bits of whatever equations that leads us to ponder dark matter.

    • by Covalent (1001277)

      I thought the same thing...if the planets outnumber stars, but tend to be smaller than stars, then perhaps the mass of them is roughly equal. Not enough to account for all of the "missing mass", but certainly enough to affect the hypotheses regarding its quantity and properties.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Delkster (820935)

        Apparently it's not very significant since not only are planets smaller than stars, they are smaller by a pretty large factor.

        The mass of Jupiter is about 1/1000 solar masses. Let's say the average mass of these independently floating planets is about 10 times that of Jupiter, and that the average star is about the same as our Sun or less. That would make the mass of an average planet about 1/100 of the average star, so you'd still need planets to outnumber stars by a factor of 100 just to equal the mass of

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          and that the average star is about the same as our Sun or less.

          That's a bad assumption to make (unless by "or less" you're assuming a lot less). The vast majority of the stars in the galaxy (about 85%) are red dwarfs, which are typically 1/5th or less of the mass of the sun.

          While our sun is right in the middle of the scale of possible sizes for stars, as far as frequency, it's in the upper 10% of the most massive stars.

    • by shish (588640)

      A bunch of planets floating around in space without orbiting a star

      Come to think of it, why are we working on the assumption that basically every object in the universe is on fire*? As a personal bet, £5 says that the vast majority of mass in the universe is in solar systems where the central object either wasn't on fire, or has burnt out billions of years ago

      * Yeah, AFAIK the official explanation for this assumption is "because that's all we can see", but maths says there must be more - the explanation for the rest always seems to have dark matter being some myste

      • Re:Dark matter? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:45AM (#36178230)

        A bunch of planets floating around in space without orbiting a star

        Come to think of it, why are we working on the assumption that basically every object in the universe is on fire*? As a personal bet, £5 says that the vast majority of mass in the universe is in solar systems where the central object either wasn't on fire, or has burnt out billions of years ago

        * Yeah, AFAIK the official explanation for this assumption is "because that's all we can see", but maths says there must be more - the explanation for the rest always seems to have dark matter being some mysterious meta-mass unlike anything we know about, rather than simply being planets with no nearby light source...

        And your PHB says it shouldn't take so long to write programs.

        How come everyone around here knows more than the experts? Do you really think astronomers are too dumb to think of all the non-stellar matter in and between the galaxies?

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          How come everyone around here knows more than the experts? Do you really think astronomers are too dumb to think of all the non-stellar matter in and between the galaxies?

          Can't speak for the parent ... I don't think astronomers are too dumb to do that, I know that at a minimum, I'm too dumb to fully understand this stuff ... so I asked because if there's suddenly a lot more planets floating about in space, maybe it's mass we've not accounted for.

          The problem with astronomy and the like ... is that it is so

        • by shish (588640)

          How come everyone around here knows more than the experts?

          Perhaps I phrased badly, but I never meant to imply that I was right, it was more "how do we know that this simple and obvious answer is wrong?"

          (I will quite happily put money on things I things I am unsure of if it means someone will give a detailed and interesting explanation of why it's wrong :P)

      • by gpronger (1142181)
        I'll take you up on the bet, we just need to figure out how we find ourselves in the same to to even up.
    • by EasyTarget (43516)

      I have seen articles on DM talk about how intersolar and intergalactic dust clouds have been accounted for but I dont know 'how'.

      It may be that these bodies get accounted for in our current models since they will have a similar effect when observed at a distance; blocking light, affecting gravitational interactions and emitting radiation. So maybe these are already captured in the models and what we are seeing here is a refinement of what interstellar 'dust' is really composed of..

      • I have seen articles on DM talk about how intersolar and intergalactic dust clouds have been accounted for but I dont know 'how'.

        Because we can *see* them. They have no light of their own, but they occlude the light sources behind them, changing it even though they may not block it completely. Whatever dark matter is, it is completely transparent to light over intergalactic distances (except for gravitational effects, but apparently it's diffuse enough that those aren't detectable). That's not possible w

      • what we are seeing here is a refinement of what interstellar 'dust' is really composed of.

        Yep, that's it in a nutshell.

    • Re:Dark matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chris Mattern (191822) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @09:16AM (#36178622)

      We know about dark matter not through micro-lensing but because of galactic structure. Galaxies rotate. If all the mass there was in any given galaxy was just what we could see, the centrifugal force would tear apart immediately. The only way we can account for sufficient gravitational attraction to keep stars in their orbits around the galactic center is to assume a lot of mass we can't see--dark matter. Most calculations based on stellar orbits consistently come up with figures for dark matter of over 80% of the matter in the universe. There's more than four times as much dark matter as what we can see. And whatever dark matter is, it apparently is diffuse enough that we don't see it micro-lensing anything, and doesn't otherwise interact with light or other EM radiation, because we find no trace of it in the light that reaches earth from all corners of the universe; therefore it *can't* be ordinary matter as we understand it, because any form of ordinary matter in that quantity would produce detectable occlusion of the light sources behind it. So what is it? Answer that question and win a Nobel.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Thanks (to you and the other posters who have actually explained this).

        As I suspected, I was talking out of my ass -- nice to have it actually explained. It just seemed that some of this stuff might be "hard to see" (like a planet floating in space), but you're talking about stuff on a completely different scale.

        Cheers.

      • Most calculations based on stellar orbits consistently come up with figures for dark matter of over 80% of the matter in the universe. There's more than four times as much dark matter as what we can see. And whatever dark matter is, it apparently is diffuse enough that we don't see it micro-lensing anything, and doesn't otherwise interact with light or other EM radiation, because we find no trace of it in the light that reaches earth from all corners of the universe;

        There's two ways for "dark matter" to not

    • Re:Dark matter? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by thegreatemu (1457577) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @09:17AM (#36178642)

      There was some attempt a while back to assign dark matter to things like this, or free-floating black holes, brown dwarf stars, etc. I.e., somewhat exotic (or not) objects composed of normal matter.

      However, in the past maybe 10 years, the constraints for dark matter come much more from cosmological arguments than from observations of the galaxy today. If you're interested, I'd suggest googling WMAP and baryon acoustic oscillations. The basic idea is that we can study the cosmic microwave background, which is the left over radiation as the universe cooled below a critical point some few 100k years after the big bang. In the CMB are embedded small fluctuations like ripples in a pond after you throw rocks in, which are the imprint of pressure waves spreading outward through the primordial plasma. By studying the size and spacing of these ripples, and applying a whole crapton of cool math, you can deduce things like the speed at which those ripples propagate, which is a direct function of both the total matter density and the baryonic (i.e. normal) matter density.

      Of course I'm skipping all the details, but the basic result is that, although we first noticed dark matter from observing the motion of galaxies today, it was confirmed to a much better degree by observing the universe in its birth stages, and it's these latter measurements that tell us that dark matter absolutely cannot be due to the behavior of matter and general relativity as we understand it today.

    • Re:Dark matter? (Score:5, Informative)

      by radtea (464814) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @09:19AM (#36178668)

      OK, so I've never really understood 'dark matter', but if there's a bunch of stuff floating about that's not stars and only shows up through things like gravitational micro-lensing ... might this cover some of the mass that is dark matter?

      Maybe, for galactic dark matter, which is completely unrelated in every respect to dark matter on larger scales, although ignorant people typically use the general term "dark matter" to refer to all types of dark matter indiscriminately, creating enormous confusion in the process.

      Galactic dark matter (GDM) is hypothesized as an explanation for the flat rotation curves of spiral galaxies. Based on the visible matter (stars) in a galaxy we can get an estimate of the mass inside a given radius. At sufficiently high radii we see the amount of visible matter dropping off, and expect that the few stars at even larger radii will start to behave like planets orbiting a distant mass with a 1/r**2 fall off in gravitational strength. But we don't see that. Instead more distant stars move as if the amount of matter inside their orbits around the galactic center contained ever more mass as they get further and further away. We can't see any visible matter to account for this, ergo, "dark matter".

      One possible candidate for GDM are so-called "MACroscopic Halo Objects" (MACHOS, to contrast them with Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, or WIMPS. Physicists really need to get out more.)

      An impediment to the MACHO hypothesis has been that the Initial Mass Function, which describes the probability of an object of mass M condensing out of a primordial cloud of gas and/or dust, was believed to drop off rather steeply at low masses. This observation suggests that it is at least a little higher than previously estimated, although I don't know if that is anywhere near high enough to account for a significant portion of GDM--my sense is not, but it's been a few years since I've paid much attention to this question.

      At larger scales we also see anomalous motion of galaxies and galactic clusters relative to the amount of visible matter, and at the very largest scale there is much less visible mass than required to keep the universe in the state of almost-but-not-quite-closed that we see. If these phenomena are caused by an excess of matter at larger scales we know that it is non-baryonic (not made of protons and neutrons) because we have a very good estimate of the density of protons and neutrons in the universe based on primordial nucleosynthesis: the denser the early universe was in protons and neutrons, the more helium would have been created, and given we know the early universe was about 23% helium (there are complex self-consistency checks on this number based on other atomic species) we know there are not enough protons and neutrons to account for the large-scale dark matter (LSDM).

      Therefore, we know that LSDM is completely unrelated in every respect to GDM: the problems they solve have different constraints and one requires exotic new physics while the other is relatively mundane. It is deeply unfortunate that people are so incompetent in their use of abstractions that they are chronically unable to distinguish between these two unrelated problems.

      • Re:Dark matter? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:23PM (#36181630)

        Ok, so I actually have an advanced degree in astrophysics. While you do describe the basic observations that lead us to believe dark matter exists, it's not true that galactic dark matter and large scale dark matter are different beasts. True, MAssive Compact Halo Objects (such as rogue black holes, neutron stars, brown dwarfs, etc) (note the correction) were a possible explanation, but we've done observational studies that look for them using microlensing, and although we did find a few, there wasn't nearly enough (i.e. several orders of magnitude less) to explain our galactic rotation curve. WIMPS (such as neutrinos) have been ruled out since they fail to explain the observed large scale galactic structure, and there aren't nearly high enough neutrino counts in neutrino observatories to make them a viable option.
        It turns out that, for BOTH galactic rotation curves and large scale darkmatter, you need about 10 times more mass than what we can associate with stars, so the two problems actually do have the same constraints. Therefore, it's very likely that there is some form of matter which only interacts gravitationally (and not electromagnetically: i.e. with light) with normal baryonic matter which has so far been unobserved. (Not surprising, since a lot of our matter detection techniques rely on interactions with light, and besides the required density of this stuff would make it very rare on Solar System scales - it only becomes significant on galactic scale interactions).
        On the original article - It's not too surprising that there are lot of free roaming planets, it just indicates that there was a higher degree of fragmentation in molecular clouds than was once thought. However, it would require an insanely HUGE number of them to explain dark matter observations - planets are generally much less massive than stars, somewhere around 10^6 to 10^8 times less massive, so there would have to be 10's of billions times more of them than stars to explain dark matter observations, something that the article does not assert is true.

        • [baryon shortage on helium density evidence], [insufficient fragmentation in molecular clouds], ... it would require an insanely HUGE number of [free roaming planets] to explain dark matter observations.

          Thought experiment:

          Leave aside problems like not having enough baryons and models not predicting 80% of them (by mass) might organize into free roaming planets.

          If there WERE that many free roaming planets would there be an appropriate size and arrangement of them to explain the observations?

          And if so, are t

          • by melikamp (631205)

            Looks like planets form out of the collapsing molecular clouds. What if there is more dark matter in galaxies which experienced more star formation? Would that nudge us toward accepting that the invisible mass is carried by planetesimals? Anyway, we can almost see protostars already, so I'll give 100-300 years tops for us to have a really good model for star system formation.

            And can you please tell us more about not having enough baryons?

  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Dorsai65 (804760) <dkmerrimanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:08AM (#36177956) Homepage Journal
    Which administration gets the blame for that?
    • by jefe7777 (411081)
      anal administration gets a lot of bad press but it's really effective for some treatments...
    • Which ever one that you are not part of.
      Those planets were either taxed out of orbit or Forced out of orbit by corporations with not government protection.
      Maybe the planets residents overused solar energy and sucked their sun dry? Or the enemy on the other side of the globe decided it was a good idea to bow up the sun when it was night for them, as to destroy their sun.

  • How much would it suck to collide with a randomly floating planet as you're ripping around the cosmos at warp 9?
    • Not much, seeing as you need to be in a "subspace" bubble to travel at warp speed.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Not much, seeing as you need to be in a "subspace" bubble to travel at warp speed.

        Yeah, but you still don't want to bump into things, and you still need to navigate.

        That's what the deflector dish is for ... it's not like they could just run through a star due to the subspace bubble. You still need to avoid objects at warp speed.

    • If you're ripping around the cosmos at warp 9, time and space are warping around you, so you'd never know the planet was there...

  • by taiwanjohn (103839) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:14AM (#36178004)

    So that's where homeless people come from!

  • If a four light year hop is too far maybe it will be possible for space craft to reach the nearest "homeless" planet, refuel and carry on.

    • by slim (1652)

      What manner of fuel do expect to find on the "homeless" planet?

      • What manner of fuel do expect to find on the "homeless" planet?

        Slingshot?

        Spaceships tend to just carry on also without fuel... the vacuum of space doesn't offer much friction.

        Unless the planet happens to travel in the same direction at a similar speed, it wouldn't make much sense to slow down, refuel, and speed up again. Might as well wait until you're at the destination and slow down then. But a slingshot from such a planet might be nice!

      • by definate (876684)

        If there are "the homeless" on the planet, might I suggest Soylent Green [wikipedia.org]?

      • What manner of fuel do expect to find on the "homeless" planet?

        More importantly, what do you find to *eat*?

        I don't mind burning mummies to power my spaceship, but when it's dinnertime I expect fresh sapient brains on the plate.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:32AM (#36178158)

    I guess the economy's bad *everywhere*.

  • "the researchers estimated that there are nearly two free-floaters for every star in our galaxy."

    Someone really needs to tell these stars to remember to flush when they are done with their solar discharges.
  • ...to find the five worlds in a Klemperer Rosette and see how far they've made it so far.
  • Ruby Spears Productions was only wrong about the year:

    The year 1994: From out of space comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the Moon...

    Thundarr Intro [youtube.com]

  • Not really planets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xtifr (1323) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @08:47AM (#36178260) Homepage

    Tch, they're not really planets, right? I mean, if they're not orbiting a star, then they can't have "cleared the neighborhood of their orbit". Yet one more reason the IAU's current definition is so idiotic. (Besides the fact that it suggests that Mercury is more like Jupiter than it is like Ceres.)

    • by gQuigs (913879)

      Depends on your definition of cleared.

      I assume they meant: to remove people or objects from
      Alternatively: so as not to be in contact with or near

      [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/clear]

    • by mcmonkey (96054) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @10:27AM (#36179650) Homepage

      Tch, they're not really planets, right? I mean, if they're not orbiting a star, then they can't have "cleared the neighborhood of their orbit". Yet one more reason the IAU's current definition is so idiotic. (Besides the fact that it suggests that Mercury is more like Jupiter than it is like Ceres.)

      My first thought was also, these are not planets. But I don't know if that's an issue with the IAU definition.

      First, obviously not a planet--doesn't orbit a star. But I'd say that's a feature, not a bug, of the definition.

      Status as a 'Planet' tells you not only something of the objects origins but also it's current state. These objects share the origins of planets, but have a different current state. We just need a different term to capture that distinction.

      I suggest, 'objects formerly known as planets'.

      • I suggest, 'objects formerly known as planets'.

        Yes, and we can use an unpronouncable symbol instead of a proper name, commonly known as "planet symbol". ;)

      • Tch, they're not really planets, right? I mean, if they're not orbiting a star, then they can't have "cleared the neighborhood of their orbit". Yet one more reason the IAU's current definition is so idiotic. (Besides the fact that it suggests that Mercury is more like Jupiter than it is like Ceres.)

        My first thought was also, these are not planets. But I don't know if that's an issue with the IAU definition.

        First, obviously not a planet--doesn't orbit a star. But I'd say that's a feature, not a bug, of the definition.

        Status as a 'Planet' tells you not only something of the objects origins but also it's current state. These objects share the origins of planets, but have a different current state. We just need a different term to capture that distinction.

        I suggest, 'objects formerly known as planets'.

        Well yes and no - they could be a result of dieing stars that loss enough gravitational force to carry them on, or they could be far enough away from the star they are orbiting that we just don't know which star(s) it is yet. Numerous reasons why they could be there and yet still be officially called planets.

        My first thought was, wonder if this accounts for the whole "Dark Matter" issue.

  • by hogghogg (791053) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @09:51AM (#36179048) Homepage Journal
    Free-floating planets are generically expected: Essentially all models for how solar systems like ours (and the others we now know) involve dynamical interactions that would kick out planets at high velocity, leaving them unbound. Astronomers have expected to find these for decades, but have been unable to do so because a planet not warmed by a nearby star gets cold fast (hundreds of thousands to millions of years) and therefore invisible even in the infrared. This result is very important if correct, because gravitational lensing is an emission-insensitive way to find the planets. And yes, IAAA! (ps As for whether they are "spacecraft": I love that idea, but the "people" onboard probably wouldn't give the planet an impulse themselves (way, way, espensivo), they would make use of a free-floater passing by and hitch the ride.)
    • Absolutely. If you play with N-body gravitational simulations, you see stuff getting flung out of orbital systems all the time, and usually at very high velocities. It generally happens before a system stabilizes, or when something new enters from outside and disrupts established orbits. I've personally messed up quite a few "solar systems" just by plopping a fairly massive foreign object in the general neighborhood. The screams are silenced by the vacuum of space. There's no reason it couldn't happen to us

    • by wierd_w (1375923)

      As a matter of curiosity, how could astronomers tell the difference between a distant spaceship equipped with an alcubierre warp drive [wikipedia.org] and a rouge planetoid?

      Both would exhibit localized micro-lensing, and depending on the tradjectory of the objects (in both cases), might appear to be standing still, or moving at sub-luminal speeds. (Since they are not emitting light that would red or blue shift if the object was moving toward or away.) The spaceship equipped with such a device would have to create a very st

  • by TheOldFart (578597) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @09:51AM (#36179052)
    That would put a hamper on a warp speed jaunt... Is that a super nova? No, it was Billy Joe smashing into a free floater...
  • by HeyBob! (111243) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @10:13AM (#36179406)

    At first I was kind of sad thinking about all those billions of frozen planets floating around out there, with no chance of the kind of life that could explore the universe (there may be life on a hot Jupiter type planet, but I doubt they could build telescopes and space ships)

    But then I thought about advanced civilizations - really advanced. They could use these wandering planets for their resources - it could be a good series of sci-fi books
    "The Planet Miners"

  • What a crappy name. I say we call them hippie planets. Aimless, shiftless, wandering space with no rhyme or reason and expecting a hard-working star to just show up and carry their dead weight. I bet they're devoid of water (and soap) as well.

  • I wonder if these homeless planets are at least locked into position in the Milky Way, or if they are truly wandering around. Could one suddenly show up in our neighborhood and maybe enter our solar system? I can't image that would end well.
    • by Sperbels (1008585)
      Sure it could. But not even the stars are locked in position in the Milky Way. The stars wander around a bit too and have near misses and collisions. It's just that space is so big, and they're not moving very quickly relative to each other that it happens infrequently. And since it's so big, the odds of even two stars colliding are very unlikely. It's like throwing two bottles into separate sides of the Atlantic and waiting for them to collide.
  • The correct term is rogue planet. Almost anyone who's interested in this is going to have read enough science fiction to know what a rogue planet is, so why make up a new name?

  • I guess the homeless planets live under bridges in cardboard boxes... or like a wandering Nibiru.
  • A planet far away from a sun, perhaps wandering hundreds of millions of light years from a galactic core, may be less susceptible to things like supernovas or galactic superwaves.
    http://www.etheric.com/LaViolette/Predict.html [etheric.com]
    " Galactic Core Explosions - prevailing concept (1980): At the time of this prediction, astronomers believed that the cores of galaxies, including our own, become active ("explode") about every 10 to 100 million years and stay active for about a million years. Since our own Galactic

  • I note for the record that, regardless of the size of the objects, since they are not in an 'orbit' they cannot have 'Cleared their orbital Path' and thus cannot be 'Planets'.

    They're "Over-sized Free-roaming gravitationally aggregated Pluto-like Objects"

    SUCK ON THAT TYSON!!!!

    {G} - Pug

Moneyliness is next to Godliness. -- Andries van Dam

Working...